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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: South Sudan

    Highlights

    • As of 25 August, a total of 1,467 cholera cases have been reported, with 25 deaths. Almost all reported cases to date have benefited from UNICEF support.

    • UNICEF has launched an intersectoral response mission in Northern Bahr el Ghazal to tackle critical levels of malnutrition, by addressing health, nutrition, and WASH needs of the community.

    • Malaria is the major cause of morbidity, with a sharp increase in cases during the reporting period due to the rains. A total of 22,341 Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNs) have been distributed in 2016.

    SITUATION IN NUMBERS

    1.69 million
    People internally displaced since 15 December 2013 (OCHA, Humanitarian Snapshot 5 May 2016)

    Over 930,388
    Estimated new South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries since December 2013
    (UNHCR Portal and Regional Updates and situation reports, 26 August 2016)

    Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

    The security situation across the country remains relatively calm, but tense and unpredictable. According to UNHCR, over 101,000 refugees have fled South Sudan since the onset of hostilities in Juba on 8 July; countrywide, close to 1.7 million people are internally displaced. Negotiations are ongoing regarding the composition, mandate, armament, and deployment of the proposed 4,000- strong regional protection force.

    As of midnight on 25 August, a total of 1,467 cholera cases have been reported with 25 deaths at case fatality rate of 1.7 per cent. The cholera outbreak, which was initially limited to Juba, Terekeka, and Duk where transmission has stabilised, is now confirmed to have spread to Mingkamen, with at least an additional 19 cases reported. Alerts have been reported in Kajo-Keji, Nimule, and even more remote area of Wau, suggesting that the outbreak may be spreading to areas that were not initially targeted by preparedness activities.

    Meanwhile, a recent report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) suggests that food security in the country is likely to deteriorate further as a result of disruptions to markets and increase in staple food prices following the recent fighting in Juba.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad

    Highlights

    • Access to some areas and IDP sites in the Lake Region remains constrained due to insecurity, notably around Kaiga Kindjiria subprefecture, the lake’s islands and water border areas with Nigeria,
      Niger and Cameroon. According to the latest Displacement Tracking Matrix of 26 July, there are 115,872 displaced people in the Lake region.

    • 94,924 children under five years old with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have been admitted to treatment between January and June 2016 – 54% of the annual target.

    • No new funding has been received for emergency activities in July 2016. The funding gap for UNICEF Chad’s Humanitarian Action for Children is currently of 66% overall, but as high as 95% gap for the CAR crisis and 80% gap for the Sahel malnutrition response.

    SITUATION IN NUMBERS

    2,200,000 Children affected (UNICEF HAC 2016)

    176,900 Children under 5 with Severe Acute Malnutrition in 2016 (Nutrition Cluster 2016)

    115,872 People displaced (IDPs, returnees, TCN, refugees) in the Lake Region
    (DTM and UNHCR, 26 July 2016)

    UNICEF Humanitarian funding needs in 2016 US$ 62.4 million

    Available in 2016* US$ 21.2 million

    Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

    Impact of violence in the Lake region

    Access to some areas and IDP sites in the Lake Region remains constrained due to insecurity, notably around Kaiga Kindjiria sub-prefecture, the lake’s islands and water border areas with Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. According to the latest Displacement Tracking Matrix of 26 July, there are 115,872 displaced people (refugees, returnees, IDPs and third country nationals (TCN)) in the Lake region, 72,679 of whom have been registered by the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster and almost 43,193 more estimated.

    The situation remained calm in the Lake region, despite the resumption of military operations since mid-June in the border with Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger. Some incidents were reported in Kaiga sub-prefecture: A local bus hit a mine on July 29, 2016 causing casualties and injuries. On July 31, eight women were reportedly abducted and two men killed by suspected Boko Haram members in a village located 12 km southwest of Kaiga Kindjiria, near the Niger border.

    There has been no major waves of population movements in the Lake region in July. However, movement of people was observed from Boma (near Kaiga-Kindjiria) to Yekiram in Fouli department. These displaced people have settled on a new site near Diamerom site, where they hope benefited from humanitarian assistance. According to a situation assessment by the NGO ACF, more than 402 newly displaced households (1,810 IDPs) are estimated in this site. Urgent needs identified by the ACF mission are access to potable water, food and non-food items (NFIs).

    Refugees, returnees and stateless persons from CAR in the South

    Recent attacks in Central Africa Republic (CAR) have forced some of population living in Ngaoundaye area to seek refuge in southern Chad since early June 2016. The level 1 registration of this new wave of refugees by UNHCR counted 6,016 refugees from 2,147 households accommodated in Sourou, Mini and Mbitoye host villages on the border with CAR. Their voluntary transfer to identified sites about 50 km inside Chadian territory took place following a decision of UNHCR and local authorities. 642 people, 255 households, were transferred to the two sites where the refugees receive assistance from UNHCR and its partners such as WFP, UNICEF, IRC, CSSI. A total of 72,876 refugees from Central African Republic are currently in Chad according to UNHCR’s latest update 30 June.

    Food insecurity and malnutrition

    Food security remains one of the most important challenges for the Lake region. According to FAO, in June 2016 there were 62,180 individuals in the department of Wayi and 71, 435 in the rest of the Lake Region facing a food crisis. Regarding displaced people, FAO states that: in Mamdi administrative department (Lake region), 15% of households in IDP sites are food insecure against 8% for resident households. Population movements have reportedly greatly contributed to the deterioration of food insecurity in this department.

    This season Chad has been enjoying regular and abundant rainfall, with corresponding good perspectives for the agricultural season and pastoral resources (Source: El Niño - ENSO: Humanitarian Implications and Scenarios: The El Niño Aftermath and Perspectives for 2016-2017, July 2016)

    The nutritional situation in the Sahel Band of the country remains a challenge. 94,924 cases of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) were admitted to treatment from January to June 2016. It is noteworthy that in the regions of Bahr El Ghazal, Batha, Kanem and Lac, SAM cases admitted during that period goes beyond the target for the period. These regions have already registered respectively, 100.3% of the annual forecast in Kanem Region, 89.7% in Bahr El Ghazal Region, 68.7% in Batha and 58.8% in the Lake Region.

    Measles outbreak

    Measles cases continues to be registered in the country. At week 29, 11 new suspected measles cases were registered in six health districts (Kelo, Oum Hadjer, Guelendeng, Bebedja, N’Djamena Nord, Moussoro). A total of 732 cases including 7 deaths were recorded since the beginning of the epidemic.


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    Source: AlertNet
    Country: Nigeria

    Hundreds of people displaced by Boko Haram last week left their camps to stage a protest in Maiduguri, Borno's capital, to demand more aid, accusing officials of stealing food rations

    By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

    ABUJA, Sept 1 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered police to arrest and make an example of government officials accused of stealing food aid intended for victims of Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, the president's spokesman said on Thursday.

    Read the full article here.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Turkey, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania

    Contexte actuel

    La planification humanitaire pour 2016 prévoit 4,3 millions de personnes dans le besoin dont 1,5 million ciblées pour une assistance humanitaire, reflétant des niveaux élevés de vulnérabilité dans tout le pays.

    Le Tchad continue à ressentir l'impact de la crise nigériane dans la région du Lac ainsi que des conflits dans les pays voisins (Libye, Soudan et RCA). Le pays accueille 388 313 réfugiés dont 306 741 réfugiés soudanais depuis plus de 10 ans, 72 876 réfugiés centrafricains et 7 337 réfugiés nigérians. La région du Lac touchée par la crise nigériane accueille actuellement 114 911 personnes déplacées dont 106 177 déplacés internes, 8 414 retournés tchadiens et 320 ressortissants de pays tiers. En outre le pays accueille plus de 80 000 retournés tchadiens de la RCA, installés principalement dans les régions du sud et à N'djamena dans des sites ou villages d'accueil.

    L'insécurité alimentaire et la malnutrition restent un problème chronique dans le pays, notamment dans la bande sahélienne. L'insécurité alimentaire touche environ 3,8 millions de personnes (environ 28% de la population totale) dont 2,8 millions ont besoin d’une assistance, parmi lesquelles plus d'un million sont en insécurité alimentaire sévère (source: cadre harmonisé mars 2016). La situation nutritionnelle est également préoccupante, avec des taux de malnutrition aigüe globale supérieurs à 15% (seuil d’urgence) dans 8 districts sanitaires sur 33, et des taux de malnutrition aigüe sévère supérieurs à 2% (seuil d’urgence) dans 15 districts sanitaires.

    Le pays fait également face à des catastrophes naturelles récurrentes et de plus en plus fréquentes (inondations, sécheresses, ravageurs de cultures) qui influent directement sur le niveau de vie des populations et exacerbent leurs vulnérabilités.

    La forte prévalence des maladies à potentiel épidémique telles que le choléra et la rougeole, ainsi que celle du paludisme, combinée à une faiblesse du système sanitaire, sont des causes de morbidité et de mortalité accentuées parmi la population, en particulier chez les enfants de moins de 5 ans. Le Tchad se classe 185e sur 188 pays sur l'Indice de Développement Humain (IDH 2015), avec quelques-uns des indicateurs sociaux les plus alarmants (espérance de vie de 51 ans, taux de mortalité maternelle de 860 décès pour 100 000 naissances, rapport EDS-MICS 2014-2015).


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: South Sudan

    Highlights

    • Completeness for weekly reporting was 35% for the nonconflictaffected states and 60% for the IDP sites.

    • Malaria is the top cause of morbidity in IDPs and nonconflict-affected areas. A total of 49 (61%) counties countrywide have registered increasing and/or more than expected levels of malaria cases.

    • Cholera outbreaks confirmed in four states [Jubek, Terekeka, Jonglei, and East Lakes]. Three suspect cholera alerts are being investigated in Kajo-keji, Nimule, and Fangak.

    • Kala azar cases on the increase in endemic areas in East Nile, Western Bieh, and Eastern Bieh states.

    • One suspect Guinea worm case reported in Bentiu town.

    • One suspect rabies death reported in Bentiu PoC.

    • During the week, malaria was the leading cause of mortality with a total of 18 deaths reported from 10 counties countrywide.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Nigeria

    By Eromo Egbejule

    The world may have finally woken up to the child hunger emergency in northeastern Nigeria, but the latest data shows, if anything, a deepening crisis.

    Levels of Global Acute Malnutrition recorded in July and August were well over the 15 percent threshold deemed “critical”, and, in some cases, higher than 50 percent, meaning more than half the children surveyed suffered from moderate or severe acute malnutrition.

    Read the full story here.


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    Source: Radio Dabanga
    Country: South Sudan, Sudan

    Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile state living in South Sudan’s Upper Nile complain of inadequate seed and farming land granted to them, which could detrimentally affect the agricultural season this year.

    The refugees of the Blue Nile in Upper Nile of South Sudan State have complained of a lack of seeds and the narrowness of the land they are granted for the purpose of farming which could affect the agricultural season in the camps this year.

    On Wednesday, Abuteek El Imam, the Coordinator of camp Yousif Bateel, told Radio Dabanga that the humanitarian organisations in the camp have not provided them with adequate seed for the season, and that the agricultural areas granted by the sultans are too small to meet their food needs.

    He appealed to the humanitarian organisations to provide more seed and agricultural equipment to the refugees.

    The refugees have also appealed to humanitarian organisations working in the camp to provide them with training and workshops to raise their capacities and awareness in various fields, especially in health and social awareness.

    They also have called for the establishment of training, sports facitities and youth centres at Yousif Bateel, Jendrasa, Eljmam and Doro camps.


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Chad

    WASHINGTON, le 1er Septembre 2016 – Le Conseil des administrateurs de la Banque mondiale a approuvé aujourd'hui un don de 10 millions de dollars américains pour aider le Tchad à développer et mettre en place un système national de filets sociaux destiné à aider directement 15 000 ménages pauvres et vulnérables des zones rurales et urbaines du Tchad. En particulier ceux vivant dans la région septentrionale du Logone Occidental, dans la région sahélienne de Bahr-El-Gazel et dans les quartiers urbains et périurbains de N’Djamena. Ces filets sociaux permettront de réduire la pauvreté et de redistribuer équitablement les bénéfices de la croissance économique par le biais de transferts monétaires et d’emplois de travaux publics.

    Ce projet cible tout particulièrement les ménages pauvres avec des enfants de moins de 15 ans et des femmes enceintes. Les transferts monétaires, qui appuieront les dépenses de consommation des ménages sur une période de 2 ans, seront associés à des mesures d’accompagnement axées sur l’amélioration des pratiques d’hygiène maternelle et de la nutrition infantile. Ils visent également à empêcher les ménages d’adopter des stratégies d’adaptation négatives à la suite d’un choc.

    Le Projet de filets sociaux, financé par l'Association internationale de développement (IDA)* et le Fonds d’affectation spéciale multi donateurs pour la protection sociale adaptative au sahel, soutenue par la coopération Anglaise (DFID) appuiera des programmes ciblant 6 200 ménages pauvres de la bande sahélienne et de la zone sud-soudanienne. Ces derniers recevront une prestation mensuelle de 15 000 francs CFA (25 dollars) versée tous les 2 mois. En outre, le projet offrira des opportunités de revenu à près de 9000 ménages pauvres des zones urbaines et périurbaines de N’Djamena. Les participants se verront offrir un emploi d’une durée maximale de 80 jours, avec une rémunération journalière d’environ 1 200 francs CFA (2 dollars) pour 5 heures de travail quotidien. Dans la majorité des cas, la prestation sera versée aux mères. Ce transfert correspond à environ 50 %de l’écart de pauvreté en matière de consommation alimentaire et devrait permettre aux ménages de stabiliser leur consommation sans pour autant les dissuader de travailler.

    « Le nouveau programme de filet social au Tchad devra aider le pays à accélérer la réduction de la pauvreté en sauvant certaines des familles les plus démunies des chocs et crises, et en leur permettant de continuer d’investir dans le futur de leurs enfants », a déclaré Paul Noumba Um, directeur des opérations de la Banque mondiale au Tchad. « Les filets sociaux contribuent déjà à aider les ménages à devenir plus résilients et productifs à travers tout le continent, notamment au Niger et dans de nombreux autres pays ».

    En cohérence avec la Stratégie Nationale pour la Protection Sociale (SNPS) du Tchad, approuvée par le gouvernement en juillet 2015, le projet servira à développer des filets sociaux pérennes qui soutiennent les familles les plus démunies. Une fois ce système en place, le gouvernement sera en mesure de répondre aux crises avec des instruments flexibles et efficaces. Une Cellule filets sociaux a été mise en place par le ministère de l'Économie et de la Planification du développement en collaboration avec le ministère de la Femme, de la Famille et de la Solidarité nationale, en vue de constituer une équipe de techniciens pour mettre en œuvre le projet. Tous les moyens techniques et financiers nécessaires ont été mis à sa disposition pour qu’elle puisse mener à bien sa mission et travailler de manière indépendante.

    « Ce projet aidera les familles pauvres vivant dans les zones rurales du Tchad à faire face à la sècheresse et à ses conséquences les plus graves, telles que la perte de revenus, l'insécurité alimentaire sévère et la malnutrition», a déclaré Giuseppe Zampaglione, chef d'équipe de la Banque mondiale pour le Projet de filets sociaux.

    • L’Association internationale de développement (IDA), créé en 1960, aide les pays les plus pauvres du monde en accordant des prêts (appelés «crédits») et des subventions pour des projets et des programmes qui visent à stimuler la croissance économique, réduire la pauvreté et améliorer la vie des pauvres. L'IDA est l'un des principaux bailleurs de fonds pour les 81 pays les plus pauvres du monde, dont 39 se trouvent en Afrique. Les ressources de l'IDA apportent des changements positifs pour les 2,5 milliards de personnes vivant avec moins de 2 dollars par jour. Depuis 1960, l'IDA a soutenu le travail de développement dans 108 pays. Les engagements annuels ont augmenté régulièrement et ont atteint en moyenne environ 15 milliards de dollars au cours des trois dernières années, avec environ 50 pour cent des engagements allant à l'Afrique.

    CONTACTS MÉDIAS

    À Washington Aby Toure Téléphone : (202) 473-8302 akonate@worldbank.org

    À N’Djamena Edmond B. Dingamhoudou Téléphone : (+235) 6543-0614 edingamhoudou@worldbank.org


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Chad

    WASHINGTON, September 1, 2016 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a $10 million grant to help Chad develop and implement a national safety nets system aimed at providing direct assistance to 15,000 poor and vulnerable households in Chad’s rural and urban areas. Households in the northern region of Logone Occidental, the Sahelian region of Bahr-El-Gazel, and the urban and periurban neighborhoods of N’Djamena will be targeted in particular. These safety nets will help reduce poverty through cash transfers and job creation in public works programs.

    This project targets poor households with children under the age of 15 and pregnant women. Cash transfers, which will support household consumer expenditures over a two-year period, will be accompanied by measures to improve the hygiene practices of mothers and the nutrition of children. They also seek to prevent households from adopting negative coping strategies in response to a shock.

    The Safety Nets Project, financed by the International Development Association (IDA)* and the Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Multi-Donor Trust Fund, will support programs targeting 6,200 poor households in the Sahelian belt and the South Sudan area. These households will receive a monthly sum of CFAF 15,000 (US$25) every two months. The project will also provide income-earning opportunities for close to 9,000 poor households in N’Djamena’s urban and periurban areas. The participants will be offered employment for a maximum period of 80 days and will be paid a daily wage of approximately CFAF 1,200 (US$2) for five hours of work per day. In most cases, the payments will be made to the mothers. This transfer is equivalent to roughly 50 percent of the food poverty gap and is expected to help households stabilize their consumption without discouraging them from working.

    Paul Noumba Um, World Bank Country Director for Chad, stated that “the new safety nets program in Chad should help the country step up poverty reduction efforts by protecting a number of the most impoverished families from shocks and crises and allow them to continue investing in their children’s future,” adding that “safety nets are already helping improve the resilience and productivity of households across the entire continent, particularly in Niger and other countries.”

    Consistent with Chad’s National Social Protection Strategy (SNPS), which was approved by the Government in July 2015, the project will help develop sustainable safety nets that support the most indigent families. Once this system is in place, the Government will have flexible and effective instruments available to respond to crises. A safety nets unit was established by the Ministry of Economy and Development Planning in collaboration with the Ministry responsible for Women and Family Affairs and National Solidarity, with a view to establishing a team of technical experts to implement the project. All necessary technical and financial resources have been placed at its disposal to enable it to successfully fulfill its mission and work independently.

    “This project will help poor rural families in Chad deal with drought and its most serious consequences, such as income loss, severe food insecurity, and malnutrition,” said Giuseppe Zampaglione, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Safety Nets Project.

    • The International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about US$15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

    MEDIA CONTACTS

    In Washington Aby Toure Tel : (202) 473-8302 akonate@worldbank.org

    In N’Djamena Edmond B. Dingamhoudou Tel : (+235) 6543-0614 edingamhoudou@worldbank.org


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Good harvest forecast for the 2016/2017 growing season

    KEY MESSAGES

    • The increasingly intense monsoon activity since the second dekad of July has helped create good conditions for the pursuit of farming activities and offset the negative effects of the reported pockets of drought in certain areas at the beginning of the season. However, heavy downpours have caused flooding problems and property damage, and led to losses of human lives in certain areas.

    • The ongoing usual lean season is marked by average to good cereal availability. Millet and sorghum prices are on par with the five-year average and maize prices are slightly above-average. Prices for animals in livestock markets are above the five-year average and terms of trade are in favor of pastoralists.

    • In general, households are experiencing a normal lean season, with access to at least two meals a day. The social programs mounted by the government and its partners, particularly cereal sales at subsidized prices and cash transfer programs, are helping to mitigate the effects of the lean season on the country’s most vulnerable households.


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    Source: International Crisis Group
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    Two years ago, the Cameroonian government declared war on Boko Haram. Despite some progress, the group’s violent impact is still seen and felt deeply in the remote north of the country.

    n March 2016, Crisis Group Analyst Hans De Marie Heungoup travelled for four weeks into an insecure area only few researchers are given access to: Cameroon’s Far North Region. He was escorted three days by the military between the front-line towns of Ldamang, Mabass, Kolofata, Amchidé and Gansé, before he went on to travel alone across the region: to Maroua, the Minawao refugee camp, Mokolo, Mora, Kousseri and Goulfey. During the four weeks he spoke to a wide range of people, including traditional chiefs, local inhabitants and administration staff, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), vigilante groups, local NGOs, humanitarian actors, academics, the military, former Boko Haram members, former traffickers, and others, some in presence of the military but the vast majority on his own. He completed his research in April and May 2016 with additional interviews in Kerawa, Bargaram, Fotokol, Makary, Hile Alifa and Blangoua. An in-depth Crisis Group report on the crisis in the area will be published soon.

    This is the story of his journey.

    At 8 o’clock in the morning, I hear seven vehicles stopping in front of my hotel: two armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and five four-wheel-drive vehicles. Sitting inside are over forty Cameroonian soldiers, who are here to take seven journalists and me into Cameroon’s Far North district – a region that has severely suffered under Boko Haram, and still does.

    I want to understand what – apart from weapons – it takes to counter Boko Haram.
    I am joining this convoy because I want to find out how Boko Haram operates in this area, and how strong it is, two years after the government started to clamp down on the insurgency. I want to see how the people living here are affected, understand if Boko Haram still recruits fighters in the Far North, and hear how large its network of sympathisers remains. And I want to understand what – apart from weapons – it takes to counter Boko Haram. I am especially curious to learn about the so-called “vigilantes”, local self-defence groups that have gained a certain fame in this Cameroonian war on terror. What can these groups really achieve?

    The starting point of our trip is Maroua, a buzzing city of 400,000 inhabitants and capital of the Far North region. The region has never gained the sad notoriety of Nigeria’s Borno state, but it gradually became an important refuge for Boko Haram fighters in the 2000s. And it has suffered immensely under the insurgency over the past years, particularly since 2014 when Boko Haram entered into open confrontation with the Cameroonian government.

    The group’s tactics then changed quickly: smaller incursions and occasional kidnappings soon grew into larger raids on towns and villages as well as strategic attacks against the Cameroonian army. In just two years, the insurgency staged more than 500 attacks and incursions, and around fifty suicide bomb attacks in Cameroon, making it the second most targeted country after Nigeria. According to Cameroonian soldiers, they fought fourteen fierce battles in Kolofata, Amchidé, Fotokol and Bargaram in 2014 and 2015 against sometimes hundreds and even up to a thousand heavily equipped Boko Haram fighters from mainly Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.

    In total, in two and a half years the insurgents have killed at least 1,300 civilians, 120 soldiers and abducted an estimated thousand people in Cameroon. They have burned down hundreds of schools and businesses and forced thousands to flee. Today, there are over 190,000 internally displaced Cameroonians in the Far North and around 65,000 refugees from neighbouring Nigeria, according to OCHA figures.

    Before we leave Maroua, one of the soldiers gives me a helmet and a bullet-proof vest. This will be my outfit for the entire journey, the standard equipment for everyone travelling in this once peaceful area whose broken tracks are now sown with mines and improvised explosive devices (IED). These were laid by Boko Haram to block the government’s way into the territory. More than 50 incidents have been recorded since October 2014, with 22 of the mines killing at least 30 soldiers and wounding many more.

    I climb into a mine-resistant armoured personnel carrier (APC). But our safety has a price: despite air conditioning it’s over 45 degrees Celsius inside. With sweaty faces, the journalists and I look at each other, suddenly understanding, at least slightly, the physical challenge that the soldiers patrolling the region experience each day.

    Twenty kilometres outside of Maroua the roads become bumpy. And then there are no roads at all. But the driver finds his way toward the north east and after four hours we arrive at Mabass, a village right at the Nigerian frontier. Mabass and the neighbouring towns of Tourou and Ldamang were repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram in 2014 but the insurgents never managed to fully occupy them.

    We stop at a rocky plateau overlooking the vast sandy frontier area with Nigeria where the local commander, Captain Ticko Kingue, points at a lake in the distance. “You see the lake over there?” he asks. “That’s the Nigerian town of Madagali. This entire frontier area is plagued by the insurgency. Even last night there were attacks. We cannot go into Nigeria, not here, we’re not allowed to. So what we do is we prevent the insurgents from coming in”.

    It is crucial that the Nigerian and Cameroonian armies cooperate in the fight against Boko Haram. But for a long time, the two country’s historically difficult relations painfully slowed down their military coordination. Today, two years since the Cameroonian government declared war on Boko Haram, there’s still a great need for better exchange of intelligence. But at least cooperation between the two armies has improved significantly within the context of the region’s Multinational Joint Task Force – partly operational since November 2015 with the aim of crushing Boko Haram.

    Here in Mabass, we are very close to the Nigerian army base near Madagali. “Sometimes they come to us, especially if we can help them with equipment”, says Captain Ticko Kingue. “And they inform us how things are going on their side”.

    On the other side of the frontier, most border towns are still held by Boko Haram. “It’s been a long time since they managed to occupy new territory”, Captain Kingue says. “But they keep trying. They usually come in large groups of 200 fighters or more. We call this a ‘combat de masse’. Usually they come at night in a surprise attack. Sometimes they pretend to attack a larger village or town to divert the army’s attention while they try to seize smaller villages”. Although Boko Haram use indiscriminate violence, they also sometimes target these smaller villages to seize supplies or preach to the population, as happened on 15 December 2015 in Kerawa, where Boko Haram members rounded up the population to preach to them for hours in Kanuri, Haoussa and Arabic.

    Boko Haram’s firepower reached its peak between summer 2014 and spring 2015. In the face of Cameroonian, Chadian and Nigerian military pressure since then, Boko Haram had to change its tactics and appears to be in decline. The jihadist group lost much of the territory it occupied and has much less military equipment than it used to. The army claims it has dismantled most Boko Haram cells in Cameroon, killed about 2,000 members in fighting and arrested more than 1,000 suspects since 2014. Today, Boko Haram is ostensibly weaker and is not able to conduct large-scale attacks any more. But it is far from defeated. It still goes after smaller targets, and increasingly relies on suicide bombers.

    Contrasting with the army’s success stories, a recent Amnesty International report documents severe failings and human rights violations in the Far North counterinsurgency campaign. According to Amnesty International, many of the army’s arrests were arbitrary, the rights of detained suspects were “routinely denied” and they did not receive fair judicial treatment. The Amnesty report has been widely criticised and rejected by the government, the military, civil society and the majority of local media. Crisis Group research raised similar concerns as Amnesty’s, but when speaking to a wide range of people it also found a high degree of local support for army actions in the face of Boko Haram’s bewildering violence.

    We continue our journey into the Mayo Tsanaga district toward the only refugee camp in the Far North. The camp near the village of Minawao is run by the UNHCR and hosts almost 57,000 people. Most of them are Nigerians from the border areas. More than 190,000 Cameroonians were also displaced, mostly fleeing to other villages and towns of the Far North.

    When the camp was built in 2011, living conditions were extremely poor, but that changed, thanks to combined efforts by the UNHCR, other humanitarian agencies and the Cameroonian government. Housing is simple but resembles how people live elsewhere in the Far North. Refugees receive three meals per day, which is more than many ordinary Cameroonians get to eat. Children of all ages can go to school. Nonetheless there is still much room for improvement. The UNHCR claims that not even 10 per cent of the funds needed to care for all refugees have been provided. Because of that, sanitary conditions in the camp are still not up to adequate standards.

    Another problem is that refugees have nearly no opportunity to work. For security reasons – especially the fear of suicide bombers – refugees are not allowed to leave the camp. The UNHCR is currently trying to come up with social activities to help the fact that many refugees feel condemned to doing nothing.

    The psychological burden is hardest on those who came to the camp traumatised by the atrocities they saw or experienced during the insurgency, particularly women and girls who suffered abuses. There are only a couple of psychologists in the camp providing care for the newcomers – not enough to give permanent psychological assistance to the thousands who need it.

    Most refugees tell me that they want to return to their homes as soon as the security situation allows it. But nobody can estimate when that will be. Many find it hard to believe that they will be safe again in the near future. One refugee from the Nigerian town of Pulka in Borno state says, “I may have many complaints, but nonetheless we are fine here in Minawao. I won’t go back”.

    Our convoy returns to Maroua before night falls. Situated 100 kilometres away from the border, Maroua is out of Boko Haram’s reach and therefore one of the safest places in the Far North. But it too has suffered violent attacks. In July 2015, Boko Haram sent four young girls as suicide bombers to four public places in Maroua. When they blew themselves up, they killed over 37 people with them and wounded 114 others.

    My tour with the military over, I meet with one of the survivors, 13 year old Kevin, who tells me what happened on the night of 25 July: “It was night and I was with my friends. We wanted to buy candy from a shop close to the Boucan bar. There was a queue with six or seven people ahead of us. And then suddenly, a girl who was sitting right next to the vendor blew herself up. I remember hearing the detonation of the bomb before I passed out. I only woke up later at Maroua hospital. It was there that I realised that one of my legs was completely burnt. There were lots of small splinters in my belly, chest and neck from the explosion. The government paid for the surgery and I could leave the hospital about a week later, but I wasn’t the same. They had amputated the lower part of my burnt leg and I learnt that one of my friends had died during the attack. My other friend is alive, but they amputated both his legs and his face is burnt. I had never seen the girl who had blown herself up in the neighbourhood before. After we left the hospital, neither the government nor any of the humanitarian NGOs followed up with us on what had happened. A Catholic priest passes by from time to time at our house to speak with my mother and help my parents buy medicine”.

    Luckily, the horrors of the attack have not taken away Kevin’s hope for the future. When I ask him if he still goes to school he says: “Yes, I have passed the first trimester. My teachers are very happy with me. When I finish school I want to become an engineer”.

    65 per cent of Cameroon’s population of 23 million is under 30 years old. Children and youths are the most vulnerable in this war. Many are traumatised by the violence they see or experience at a young age.

    At the same time, youth are seen by Boko Haram as easy prey. The insurgents can either recruit or force them into their ranks and use them for their purposes, like the four girls in Maroua.

    Recruitment is helped by the fact that many young people are unemployed, poorly educated, belong to a part of the society that is not well integrated or don’t see a future for themselves for other reasons. Local authorities and traditional chiefs in Maroua as well as in Mokolo and Mora told me that Boko Haram has lost its appeal and capacity to recruit almost entirely. Very few youths are still joining the movement voluntarily. Nonetheless, forced recruitments still continue in the border areas. As Boko Haram indiscriminately killed Muslims and Christians, fundamentalist Muslims distanced themselves from the movement, stating that Boko Haram represents neither Wahhabi nor Salafi Islam. Many Imams and Muslim clerics told me that the war against Boko Haram has actually limited the spread of fundamentalist trends of Islam as hard-line preachers are now afraid to speak up in public.

    The Far North is the poorest of Cameroon’s regions, with 70 per cent of its people living on less than one dollar per day. During the past three decades, the influence of conservative Salafi Islam has increased in the region and many children grow up exposed to radical religious viewpoints. There is an urgent need for the state and public institutions to care for these youths and make sure they do not radicalise in the first place – and if they do radicalise, offer them help to leave the group and be fully re-integrated into society.

    Maroua has a big prison, and the vast majority of suspected Boko Haram members arrested in Cameroon, almost 900 of them, are detained here. What is sorely missing is a de-radicalisation program, one that teaches a more tolerant Islam and re-integrates into society those who were recruited by force and are willing to abandon the movement.

    When speaking to the regional administration, I learn that there are also no public counter-radicalisation programs outside of the prison aimed at keeping young people and others away from extremist groups. The only efforts made in this direction come from civil society groups and the churches. Cameroon’s Association for Inter-Faith Dialogue (ACADIR) has set a positive example by organising conferences and meetings that have brought together religious leaders of different strands of Christianity and Islam. But these initiatives only scratch the surface of the problem. They don’t reach those who are the biggest threat to religious dialogue in the Far North: radical Islamist leaders.

    If the government is to turn a security-focused approach into a long-term political strategy against radicalisation, there is still much to do. If the government does not invest in development, the impoverished local population will stay vulnerable to radical groups and religious radicalisation.

    Last year, when the government launched an emergency development plan with a budget of roughly $10 million per year, hardly anyone believed that this could make a big difference. Most experts estimate that the current plan covers only about one per cent of what is needed to significantly improve the situation in the country’s least developed region. With $10 million, you cannot construct a road network in the Far North, develop public services in all areas, like health and education, help business owners get back on their feet, create employment opportunities and pay for preventive programs to keep especially the youth away from radical groups.

    It might be possible for Cameroon to find other funding to do the job, but a correct assessment of the needs is necessary. Only then can the government show that it has understood the scope of the problem and can hope for help from its international partners.

    I leave Maroua a second time to go up to the Mayo Sava district. This time, I am picked up by soldiers of the BIR, “Bataillon d’intervention rapide” (rapid intervention force). Of the approximately 8,000 soldiers deployed in the Far North, 2,400 belong to this well-trained and equipped elite unit. They take me to a place that has become a symbol of the war: Amchidé.

    We are confronted with the sight of a ghost town. Formerly inhabited by 30,000 people, Amchidé is among the hardest hit places in Cameroon and the stage of three long battles between the army and the insurgents in late 2014 and early 2015.

    The BIR camp of Amchidé has been baptised “Le Palais” (the Palace), not just because of its palace-like shape but also because it was one of the insurgent’s key strategic targets in Cameroon. Despite a dozen of conventional attacks, including three where Boko Haram mustered 800 insurgents, the city only fell for one day, on 15 October 2014. But the military base never succumbed.

    The entire population of Amchidé fled during the fighting and only 10 per cent have come back – to an almost dead city. There are no businesses in Amchidé anymore, since the fighting has cut all Amchidé’s supply lines.

    Most of those who came back are men, and about 40 of them joined forces to form a vigilante group. These vigilante or community defence groups are nothing new. In many Cameroonian towns and villages, unarmed vigilante groups have existed for a long time. But they have gained a new level of importance with the insurgency. They are groups of normal citizens – always men – patrolling their villages to make sure everyone is safe, especially at night.

    As the Boko Haram threat increased, the government realised how these vigilantes can help in the fight on terror. It provided equipment, such as rifles, torches and night vision gear, and worked with traditional village chiefs who handpicked the most “suitable” men of their village to be part of the vigilante group. Vigilante groups have since played an important role against Boko Haram. They identify strangers they believe could be potential suicide attackers. And sometimes they even fend off smaller Boko Haram attacks. In the past year as well as this year, the Amchidé vigilante group and similar ones in Limani, Kerawa and Tolkomari have been involved in low intensity fights with small groups of about half a dozen Boko Haram fighters. In some cases they were able to surround smaller Boko Haram cells or win a fight against attackers. In other cases, they were not successful – and suffered casualties.

    Although they are praised by the government and local authorities, the vigilante groups are not exempt from criticism. Sometimes, vigilantes have denounced local inhabitants as members of Boko Haram just to settle private accounts. In other cases, vigilantes have been suspected of providing information to Boko Haram and were therefore arrested by the army.

    In the case of Amchidé, the first vigilante group formed by the BIR had only Christian members, who harassed and extorted money from the local Muslim majority. Following complaints, the BIR dissolved Amchidé’s first vigilante group and formed a new one with Christian and Muslim members.

    The last stop of my four weeks’ research trip is Kousseri, an old market town in between the Chari and the Logone rivers. You only have to cross a bridge to reach the metropolis of N’Djamena, capital of neighbouring Chad.

    In economic terms, Kousseri is the most important city in the Far North. It has strong links with Chad to the east and Nigeria to the west, especially the Nigerian town of Maiduguri. In the past two years, it has been flooded with Cameroonian IDPs and Chadian refugees. Its population has grown from 200,000 to 280,000. Many of them come from the city of Fotokol, 100 kilometre to the west on the Nigerian border, where Boko Haram caused most casualties suffered in the country during the main phase of the war between May 2014 and March 2015.

    For a period of several months in 2014 and 2015, Boko Haram staged almost daily attacks on Fotokol. One especially heavy battle took place in Fotokol in early February 2015. For two days, about 1,000 Boko Haram insurgents were fighting against Cameroonian BIR forces and Chadian soldiers, killing 81 to 400 civilians, seventeen Chadian soldiers, seven Cameroonian soldiers and 300 attackers, according to various reports.

    One woman from Fotokol tells me that Boko Haram killed her husband. Another woman describes how Boko Haram raided the village asking: “Where are the Christians?”. Some IDPs in Kousseri tell me that they feel relatively safe now, but the violence they have seen is hard to forget, and life remains hard for them. They receive only limited support from aid organisations like the World Food Program and no support from the state. They have to find their own housing or stay with friends and relatives. Opportunities for work are scarce and the local economy has suffered from the fighting. Tens of thousands of merchants relied on cross-border trade. When the Nigerian border was closed due to insecurity, many of them were left without work. Aya, who used to own a large shop in Fotokol, lost everything. She tells me: “There is no possible turning back for me and my children. We have been chased from our village, our house was burnt; we have to make our life here in Kousseri”.

    After four weeks in the Far North, when I return to the capital Yaoundé, the main concern resonating in my head is that people cannot imagine that security will be restored soon. The military battle against Boko Haram is ongoing and despite some successes it is far from won. At the same time, the military’s performance is tainted by accusations of human rights violations against the population, including arbitrary detention, torture, extrajudicial killings, and forced disappearances - allegations which the military mostly denies. During our discussion, the spokesman of the Defence Ministry replied to similar claims: “Cameroon’s army is republican and professional. We systematically investigate all human rights abuses cases and sanction. As you should know four soldiers in the Far North have been discharged a few months ago for committing grave acts against the honor of the army”.

    While his claim that all abuses are investigated is clearly an exaggeration, and it is not clear that all sanctions concern Human rights abuses, there has been some progress. Disciplinary measures have been taken against some officers and soldiers in the Far North, who have been removed from operational assignments to administrative posts or dismissed. Some judicial investigations into rights abuses are underway.

    Still, efforts made are far from sufficient and the defence ministry’s focus on sanctions is too narrow. There are no financial or material compensations for victims of the families of victims that suffered human rights violations. Neither has the military officially apologised. The government should pursue a stricter and proactive sanctions policy against soldiers who committed abuses, publicise its sanctions and put in place measures that can rebuild communities’ confidence. If human rights violations by the army continue, they will jeopardise the success of the counterinsurgency, as parts of the population may radicalise and take the side of the insurgents. At the same time, Western countries might withdraw their support for the army, as happened in Nigeria when there was a rash of human rights abuses by Nigerian army.

    As much as security efforts are crucial to curb the insurgency, Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad also need to shape new policies that can prevent the emergence of new jihadist groups. More and more, the central authorities seem to understand that. At the ministry of defence and at the ministry of external relations, I meet several senior officials who recognise that a sustainable victory is impossible without development in the Far North. But then, they all add “the priority is to defeat Boko Haram militarily first”. Otherwise, the sad example of Chinese development workers who were kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram while building roads in the Far North could be repeated, they say.

    Boko Haram is much weaker today than in 2014. Nonetheless, the government must not delay proving to its population that it cares for its needs, and that it is trying to give those who feel neglected by the state new hope for their future.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria

    REGIONAL OVERVIEW

    The operational and security context in the Lake Chad Basin countries, hosts to over 155,000 Nigerian refugees, has changed considerably over the first half of 2016. Humanitarian actors are now drawing their attention to new, unfolding emergencies within the affected countries, such as Diffa in Niger, or the newly liberated Government areas in north-eastern States of Nigeria. Meanwhile, the Lake Chad Basin crisis has remained amongst the most neglected and under-funded crisis in the world, with only 24 per cent of required funds received by the end of June. Since the beginning of the year, the Nigerian Armed Forces, with support from the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), succeeded in in regaining territory in north-eastern Nigeria freeing some 800,000 people. However, these gains have been overshadowed by a change in Boko Haram tactics, which included increased hit and run attacks and suicide bombings on a nearly weekly basis in northern Cameroon. Niger’s Diffa region was further drawn into the conflict when the terrorist group launched two attacks against military personnel in Bosso Town, Diffa, in May and June 2016, killing 32 military personnel and displacing an additional 69,000 people in the course of a week. This massive displacement of populations has been among the worst since the beginning of the crisis.

    The most prominent achievement in the implementation of the 2016 RRRP was the completion of a successful Regional Protection Dialogue, held in Abuja from 2-6 June 2016, organized by the Government of Nigeria and facilitated by UNHCR. It brought together high-level government representatives of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger as well as UN agencies, NGOs and civil society. The Dialogue resulted in the “Abuja Action Statement” to which all States committed and as such, sets the framework for protection-based interventions, the future planning and coordination of the response, and hence for enhancing the safety and well-being of populations of concern. Regarding coordination, the RRRP provided the essential elements of coordination for the refugee response in 2016 to date in all three concerned countries under the overall leadership of the Regional Refugee Coordinator (RRC) for the Nigeria Situation.


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    Source: International Crisis Group
    Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Western Sahara, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.

    Global Overview, August 2016

    The month saw Yemen’s peace talks collapse with violence there intensifying, and the Syrian conflict escalate following Ankara’s launch of a cross-border ground offensive against Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish forces, days after a major terror attack in Turkey’s south east. Troop deployments in Western Sahara threatened to bring about clashes, and violence flared in the Central African Republic. In Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, security forces brutally suppressed anti-government protests, while in Gabon, the president’s disputed re-election triggered violent clashes. In Asia, a suicide bombing killed over 70 people in Pakistan, while suspected militants in Thailand’s southern insurgency launched attacks on targets outside the traditional conflict zone. In positive news, peace talks between the Philippines government and communist rebel groups resumed after a four-year hiatus. On 24 August, Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) declared that they had reached a final peace accord, paving the way for an end to 52 years of armed conflict.


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    Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster
    Country: South Sudan


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    Source: DanChurchAid
    Country: Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Netherlands, South Sudan

    The Dutch government has granted 11.6 million euros to DCA's efforts to create security in four of the world's hotspots. It is the largest donation from an international donor in DCA history

    DCA’s can now intensify its efforts to create safety in four countries affected by conflict thanks to a large donation from the Dutch government.

    The Dutch Foreign Ministry has put aside 11.6 million euro for DCA's work to create safer communities in South Sudan, Libya, Mali and Lebanon. The donation is the largest DCA has ever received from an international donor.

    "We are very happy for our cooperation with the Dutch government overall and with this donation in particular. With this money, we can save many people from dying or being maimed and we can help more victims living with the psychological after-effects of their experiences during," says Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, General Secretary in DCA.

    She sees the grant as a recognition of the work DCA does.

    "They choose to give us this money because DCA is a job and working places that very few organizations in the world manage to do," she says.

    The money is covering projects divided into three areas:

    Clearance: Clearing of landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance Risk Education: Informing the local population about the dangers of explosive remnants of war and promoting safe behaviour Victims assistance: Psychosocial support for victims of war and conflict An important element is to build capacity locally so authorities in fragile states become able to secure their own people. The grant is covering projects during a four year period, and the long time horizon is particularly important according to Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen.

    "It takes a really long time to clean up after armed conflicts, even those that have lasted a very short time. And in countries such as Libya and South Sudan, we see that conflicts can drag on for years. Holland's long-term support enables us to plan a far more effective effort," she says.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger, Nigeria


    0 0

    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Chad, Niger

    The security situation in south-eastern Niger continues to deteriorate due to repeated attacks by Boko Haram. Since the first Boko Haram attack on the Nigerien territory in February 2015 to date, several other incursions have been reported in the region.
    These attacks have caused the displacement of thousands of people. As a consequence, the humanitarian needs in the region have increased, in a context characterized by limited resources for an adequate response and by localized access challenges.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, World


    0 0

    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    REGIONAL OVERVIEW

    Introduction

    The operational and security context in the Lake Chad Basin countries, hosts to over 155,000 Nigerian refugees, has changed considerably over the first half of 2016. Humanitarian actors are now drawing their attention to new, unfolding emergencies within the affected countries, such as Diffa in Niger, or the newly liberated Government areas in north-eastern States of Nigeria. Meanwhile, the Lake Chad Basin crisis has remained amongst the most neglected and underfunded crisis in the world, with only 24 per cent of required funds received by the end of June.

    Since the beginning of the year, the Nigerian Armed Forces, with support from the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), succeeded in regaining territory formerly occupied by Boko Haram insurgents in north-eastern Nigeria freeing some 800,000 people in communities formerly held hostage by the terrorist group. They further managed to defeat Boko Haram in Chad, Cameroon and Niger in certain areas to a limited extent.

    However, these gains have been overshadowed by a change in Boko Haram’s tactics, which included increased hit and run attacks and suicide bombings on a nearly weekly basis in northern Cameroon. Niger’s Diffa region was further drawn into the conflict when the terrorist group launched two attacks against military personnel in Bosso Town, Diffa, in May and June 2016, killing 32 military personnel and displacing an additional 69,000 people in the course of a week. This massive displacement of populations has been among the worst since the beginning of the crisis in 2013.

    Nevertheless, it is worthwhile noting that Niger and Chad witnessed peaceful Presidential Elections in March and April 2016 respectively, in which the incumbents were re-elected in both countries.

    The fact that there was no major political transition to be expected, facilitated the task for partners in building on the established cooperation and coordination with local authorities and in implementing projects as outlined in the Nigeria 2016 Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP).

    In the first half of the year, the main protection objectives as outlined by UNHCR and partners of identifying, registering and documenting refugees in all countries, ensuring access to asylum and enhancing child protection saw progress while taking into account the serious national security concerns countries of asylum affected by Boko Haram had raised.

    The extraordinary high need for psycho-social support for Nigerian refugees, most of whom have been deeply traumatized in the course of the conflict, was addressed, targeting mainly children and persons with specific needs in the region. However, providing the required assistance and support to SGBV survivors remains challenging, as SGBV is highly stigmatized and sufficient awareness among persons of concern regarding the need to report incidents in order to identify, prosecute and bring perpetrators to justice, is still lacking.

    While the education sector was able to achieve its objective of ensuring access to education to refugee children in primary school, the health and nutrition sector saw some achievements in reinforcing health centres. However, the number of refugees suffering from severe and acute malnutrition (SAM) and the crude mortality rate of persons of concern in the region was not up to standard, even though UNHCR and partners managed to at least maintain the global acute malnutrition rate (GAM) and crude mortality up to standard of <1 (per 1,000 persons/month) within the refugee camps.

    The alarming rise in food insecurity throughout the Lake Chad Basin countries has led to an estimated 8,000,000 people in need of urgent food assistance. UNHCR and partners continue to address this alarming issue at several levels, such as through expanding school canteens. While partners managed to support refugees in the livelihoods sector, economic opportunities in the Lake Chad Basin are severely reduced, due to ongoing military operations in the region and the declaration of the emergency state in Chad and Niger. Farming, fishing and trade have been nearly suspended for two years in a row, and both refugees and hosting communities are unable to provide enough food for their households unless they receive humanitarian assistance.

    Further, the harsh climate in the region, extreme heat and strong winds have devastated the shelter provided to refugees in the region, while sandy soils impeded the construction of sufficient durable shelters as well as boreholes and adequate latrines. However, the full implementation of planned projects was also prevented by severe funding constraints, and partners were often unable to expand their assistance to the population initially targeted.

    Regarding coordination, the RRRP provided the essential elements of coordination for the refugee response in 2016 in all three concerned countries under the overall leadership of the Regional Refugee Coordinator (RRC) for the Nigeria Situation.

    During the past six months, UNHCR and partners have jointly reviewed and assessed some challenges in interagency coordination of the refugee response, resulting in recommendations made on addressing and following up on these coordination challenges. Noteworthy in this regard is the Inter-Agency mission on the Application of the Joint UNHCR/OCHA Note on Mixed Situations to Cameroon in April 2016, which included representatives of OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF and UNFPA. An RRRP 2017 planning workshop with partners at regional level was organized in June 2016 to take stock of the RRRP implementation so far, to discuss respective challenges and potential needs for adjustments and the planning process for 2017.

    The most prominent achievement in the implementation of the 2016 RRRP was the completion of a successful Regional Protection Dialogue, held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 2-6 June 2016. The Regional Protection Dialogue was organized by the Government of Nigeria and facilitated by UNHCR. It brought together high-level government representatives of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger as well as UN agencies, NGOs and civil society. This meeting has pushed protection concerns to the forefront, and laid a foundation for further consultations among the four states and all stakeholders, on finding peace and durable solutions for countries and displaced populations affected by Boko Haram. The Dialogue resulted in an Action Statement for Protection of refugees and IDPs in the concerned countries to which all States committed and as such, sets the framework for protection-based interventions, the future planning and coordination of the response, and hence for enhancing the safety and well-being of populations of concern.


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